Closing the gap between effective Biocuration and meaningful ontology evolution

Nico Matentzoglu, Monarch Initiative, Semanticly, Greece

Effective Biocuration is dependent on controlled vocabularies such as biomedical ontologies. From the perspective of biocurators, it is of central importance to get new terms integrated into the ontology as soon as they are needed. From the perspective of the users who want to exploit the ontology for analysing their data, however, it is key that the integrated term is carefully curated into the ontological structure, which is difficult and time-consuming. This provides a dilemma for ontology developers who, on the one side, are expected to respond quickly to curation requests, but on the other side are tasked to provide a reliable resource for the community. In this talk, I will describe a strategy based on change languages, design patterns and templates that could be used to “outsource” some of the ontology curation to biocurators, thereby creating a drastically reduced effort and subsequently much tighter turnaround time for new (and changed) term requests. I will discuss the importance of such community contributions to open ontology projects and hope to convince the biocuration community to engage more closely with the ontology curation process.